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What If...2021 NFL Mock Draft

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NCAA Football: College Football Playoff National Championship-Clemson vs Louisiana State Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Background: Jan 13, 2020; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; Clemson Tigers quarterback Trevor Lawrence (right) greets LSU Tigers quarterback Joe Burrow following the College Football Playoff national championship game at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas

What if..the 2020 NCAA and NFL seasons are cancelled?

The recents signs—-23 Clemson players testing positive for the COVID-19 virus—-massive spikes in reported COVID-19 infections in states such as Arizona, Texas and Florida—-and with just a month away from training camps the NFL is advising all NFL players not to conduct group workouts of any kind, small or otherwise—-do not bode well for football games of any kind taking place any time soon—-or perhaps any time this year at all.

It is reasonable to believe that Roger Goodell will make every effort to give the teams an experimental chance—-but what is likely to derail any and all efforts to have a season this year would be if one team or more incurs significant double digit numbers of positive cases to the point where rosters are too badly compromised.

The NFL has always believed in promoting parity—-but, in this case, some teams are likely to get walloped more than others—-and this surely would put Roger Goodell and the NFL in a bind.

Most recently, the NFL has been doing all it can to promote player safety—-yet, every measure of the player safety policies is going to be tested to the max—-not only for the constant threat that every player could contract the virus—-but for teams that are hit the hardest, the safety of the remaining players will be jeopardized on the field—-especially for QBs who would have to play behind makeshift offensive lines.

The NFL’s most recent new practice rule that significantly limit full contact sessions—-combined with the possibility that at least half or all of the pre-season games could be cancelled—-would work against teams’ ability to develop their depth, especially in the event of double digit players being quarantined.

So—-what if—-the college and pro football seasons are cancelled?

The 2021 NFL Draft should go on as planned—-and sadly for college football fans, the top prospects for the 2021 draft will be eligible to be drafted after missing what would have been their final year of their college careers.

The NCAA cannot stop the NFL from drafting any player who is three years removed from high school—-so regardless of whether there is a college football season or not—-players like Trevor Lawrence, Penei Sewell, Justin Fields and Ja’Marr Chase will be draft eligible.

So—-what will the NFL do about the draft order?

Will they simply revert back to the 2020 order?

I think the NFL might do something like the following:

  1. Put the (2020) 1-10 teams in a hat—-shuffle them up—-and make a drawing.
  2. Put the 11-20 teams in a hat—-shuffle them up—-and make a drawing.
  3. Put the 21-30 teams in a hat—-shuffle them up—-and make a drawing.
  4. Keep the two Super Bowl teams as is: 31. SF; 32. KC.

Thus, for the sake of curiosity, shiggs and gittles, I conducted my own shuffle and here were the results:

  1. LAC
  2. ARI
  3. MIA
  4. CAR
  5. CLE
  6. DET
  7. JAX
  8. CIN
  9. WAS
  10. NYG
  11. DAL
  12. NYJ
  13. IND
  14. TB
  15. PIT
  16. LAR
  17. LV
  18. CHI
  19. ATL
  20. DEN
  21. SEA
  22. GB
  23. HOU
  24. BAL
  25. PHI
  26. NO
  27. MIN
  28. BUF
  29. NE
  30. TEN
  31. SF
  32. KC

I know I know—-here I am a Cardinals’ fan and the Cardinals wound up with the #2 pick. But, that’s what the shuffle produced and, hey, I am not going to apologize for it!

Top 5 Mock:

  1. Chargers—-Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson

This would be deja vu all over again at the top fo the draft, because, the Chargers simply cannot or should not pass on Lawrence and now they can do what the Cardinals did when they took Kyler Murray at #1—-put the previous year’s 1st round QB pick (Josh Rosen, Justin Herbert) on the trading block.

2. Cardinals—-Penei Sewell, T, Oregon

For those of us who had the privilege of watching Anthony Munoz play and dominate the LT position—-Penei Sewell, the 2019 Outland Trophy winner, is cut from the same cloth. This would give the Cardinals the opportunity to switch D.J. Humphries over to RT—-or to start Sewell at RT and keep Se-For at LT—-and have Josh Jones be the swing tackle—-or in time, work Jones in at the RG spot. As tempting as it may be to take WR Ja’Marr Chase or DE Gregory Rousseau—-Penei Sewell is way too talented to pass up.

3. Dolphins—-Gregory Rousseau, DE, Miami

Rousseau is a Miami favorite and is the most talented edge rusher in the draft—15.5 sacks and 19.5 tackles for loss in 2019.

4. CAR—-Justin Fields, QB, Ohio St.

As much as Matt Ruhle may like Teddy Bridgewater, Justin Fields is a more dynamic QB for Ruhle’s offense.

5. CLE—-Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU

Chase is so talented that he could immediately leapfrog over Odell Beckham, Jr. and Jarvis Lanrdy as WR #1. And, of course, it could provide the Browns with some alluring trade scenarios.

If the NFL would decide instead to keep the 2020 draft order exactly as is for the the 2021 draft—-if the Cardinals are picking 8th again, here are 5 players to consider:

Micah Parsons, LB—-Penn St.

Patrick Surtain, Jr., CB—-Alabama

Shaun Wade, CB—-Ohio St.

Marvin Wilson, DT, Florida St.

Xavier Thomas, DE—-Clemson